A general non-parametric classifier is described in the context of discriminating surface water from terrain shadows. In addition to using non-parametric statistics, this classifier permits the use of a cost matrix to assign different penalties to various types of misclassifications. The approach also differs from conventional classifiers in that it applies the maximum-likelihood criterion to overall class probabilities as opposed to the standard practice of choosing the most likely individual subclass. The classifier performance is evaluated using two different effectiveness measures for a specific set of ERTS data.
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